BuyersSellers 9 November 2022

Buying and Selling at the Same Time

The scenario of buying and selling your home at the same time has been coming up more recently now that the housing market in Sudbury has entered a more balanced state.  In a very competitive market, you can still buy a new home and sell your existing one at the same time but it is definitely more challenging.  The key to doing this successfully without having to find temporary housing is having enough time to work with.multiple houses

The pieces to this puzzle are simple but the order of events is often concerning.  You are going to buy a home and you are going to sell your current home.  Which do you do first?  Do you need to sell first so you can then have the money available to go and buy?  Or can you buy first and sell later?  What happens if you sell and can’t find another home?  What if I buy a home and haven’t sold my current one?

If you have another home that you can move into while you sell your house and find another one (like your parent’s or kid’s or friend that is willing to put you up) then you can tackle this in whatever order you wish.  Most people don’t have that luxury and need some better security when buying and selling homes.

Everybody’s situation is going to be different and the order you choose will make sense to your family.  The best way to tackle this situation is to find the home you want to buy first.  While you are searching for your new home, get your current home prepped and ready for sale.  De-clutter, paint, stage and do all of those little repairs you have been putting off.  When you find the home you want to buy, your agent will guide you through making an offer conditional on the firm sale of your home.  This means that you will not be forced to buy the new home if your current home does not sell.  This condition generally is set up with a timeline to get your home sold so that the seller of the other home doesn’t have to wait indefinitely for you to sell your place.  That is why it is a good plan to get your home ready such that when you put in your offer, you can quickly get your current home on the market.

When you add in a condition to a purchase offer on the sale of your home, the seller usually is allowed to continue showing the home to other potential buyers.  The seller wants to sell their home as quickly as possible and for the most money possible.  The seller can accept your conditional offer but if another offer comes in that they want to work with, they may choose to do so.  Again, depending on how your offer is structured, the seller typically has to give you notice and an opportunity to remove the home sale condition from your offer.  If you remove the condition, then your offer stands and you are now committed to buying that house even if your house doesn’t sell.  Risky business!  If you don’t waive the condition, then your deal will become null and void and they will work with the new buyer.

Ideally, you will want to set up the sale of your home to finalize on the same day or a day or two earlier than the closing of the home you are wanting to buy.  This helps to make sure the lawyers have enough time to transfer the funds for the home transactions.  You can line it all up for the same day but make sure your lawyer is aware that is happening so they prioritize the transactions.  Another option is to ask your lender for bridge financing.  If they agree, that will allow you to hold both properties for a short period of time as the sales finalize.

Still not quite clear on how buying and selling your homes will play out?  Feel free to connect with me and I will happily walk you through the scenarios and answer your questions.

Buyers 8 June 2022

What is a modular home?

Last week I went on a trip out to the east coast to visit a factory where they build modular homes. Like many others, I really didn’t know much about modular homes. Many people think about mobile homes and trailer parks when they hear this term. Let me tell you, these are NOTHING like those. In fact, a modular home is MUCH better than my current stick-built home. These really should be the way of the future and I’m sure you will see more and more of these homes being sold in your neighborhood.

A modular home is built inside a factory. The one I visited rolls out about 2-3 homes per day. It was very impressive. All of the building materials are stored inside so they are not affected by weathering. The home building process sees the home move through various stations in the factory with skilled tradesmen performing their tasks over and over again for each home. There are no delays in the building process due to weather, scheduling conflicts or availability. All of the items being built are being done by experts who have done the work thousands of times. The house moves from station to station a couple of different ways. In some cases it is rolled on a track and then later on it is moved with an air bag system that floats the house from one point to another.
Modular homes are built to your specifications. Working with a reseller, you can modify the floor plan. That design is followed in the factory at each build station. They also have several building code standards that they must adhere to and get checked by their station heads before the building moves to the next station. The quality control is super sharp. They do not all look alike. You can put multiple units together, have multiple floors, and get to choose all of your finishings both inside and out. They look just like any other home but are better built and will cost you less money both in initial cost and maintenance.

Here are a few advantages that modular homes have over traditional built homes. First – they have a much better R factor. The R factor is a rating for how well the house is insulated. They seal every last nook and cranny in the home. I have never seen a window better sealed than the ones I saw in the factory. Their heating/cooling efficiency are much better when properly sealed, especially for Canadian weather. They are also able to quickly and easily run all of the electrical cables and seal the boxes because they have access to the outside of them as the building is built. And perhaps one of the best advantages to these is that they come with a very robust warranty for many aspects of the home. Because the house is being built to the products standards, like the roof properly being melted on, the builder offers the warranty against defects for a good period of time. Try getting ANY warranty from a traditional builder apart from the Tarion warranty.

If you want to learn more about modular homes and how to get started, check out North Shore Quality Homes nsqh.ca here in the Sudbury area. They are a reseller of Maple Leaf Homes and are perhaps the best made homes in the country.

BuyersSellers 7 June 2022

Auction systems vs Blind Bidding

The real estate world here in Sudbury Ontario has a new auction company in town. The new company has caused a bit of a kafuffle with realtors and clients alike. This is mainly due to their use of their auction system to sell homes. This is a new process that has not been widely adopted. Anything new is always met with skepticism and fear. But is this new method really a good option for sellers?

The Liberal federal government declared that they would work towards ending the blind bidding process. From up high, this sounded like a great election promise as we are in a housing crisis and the pandemic was causing prices to skyrocket due to a very limited supply. People were paying top dollar for homes and in many cases paying well over the asking price. Now this does get complicated as many realtors priced homes much too low on purpose during this period to generate bidding wars and get the most money they could for their sellers. The market conditions were such that the buyer would gladly pay over asking in order to secure a home. The prices of these homes, for the record, have not declined which means that the buyers, for the most part, did not over pay for their purchases.

Blind bidding is the process that has been used when buying/selling homes for many years. Interested parties in a competition will submit their best offer to the listing agent (or sometimes presented directly to the seller). The buyers do not know what the other bid amounts are. All they can do is put forward what their best bid is and hope that the seller chooses them to buy their house. Price is usually the largest factor but there are others that the seller will consider: closing date, deposit amount, conditions, inclusions, etc. When competing with another for the purchase of a home, the speculation is that the buyer might overbid their opponent by way too much money. This is great for the seller but evidently not so great for the buyer. They could have possibly secured the purchase for much less than they paid. This is the issue that the Liberals were targeting and hoping to solve. But is it really a problem? The buyer had the opportunity to weigh their options and decide if they were willing to spend the amount they spent on the house. Nobody forced them to do it. In our economy, the house is worth what the market is willing to pay for it.

 


An auction system allows the people interested in purchasing the house to see how much their competition is willing to spend. The price goes up incrementally as bids are put in by the buyers. As the price bar lifts, they can decide if they want to raise it further or back out and let the current leader win the deal.

There have been auction systems used in the past and some are still being used in other countries today to sell homes. An auction system can also cause a buyer to pay more than what they were originally intending to pay as they are tempted over and over again to bid higher and higher as the competition goes on.

Each province has a governing body for real estate agents and legislation that speaks to how we conduct business. While it sounds great that the federal government would like to end blind bidding, it is up to the provincial government to enact those changes to the law. Right now, our governing body would like to leave the choice on how to sell the property up to the home owner. They can choose to sell the current way or choose to sell via an auction system.

At some point, the largest real estate website in Canada, Realtor.ca, will be releasing it’s own auction tool for selling homes. When it does (slated for next year sometime is what I have heard), then companies that have developed their own tools might be in a difficult spot. TIme will tell.

In my opinion, I believe that the seller is better served with the current blind bid system. If I was selling my own home, I absolutely would want to use this system. If the home is properly priced and priced at a point that satisfies the seller, then using the current system makes sense. If the buyer is willing to spend well over that price to secure the deal, then that is their informed choice and a result of the current market pressure. With an auction system, the seller will almost certainly not experience the same possible purchase price. An auction system, more often then not, will benefit the buyer. While I would like to help my buyers not spend more than they should, the system is set so that the seller can decide how they would like to sell. Some will choose the auction system, I think more will stick with the current system.

 

Buyers 7 June 2022

Why is the list price so low??

Sold over asking! Crazy amounts above the list price are the talk of every virtual water cooler these days. Can you believe that they sold their home for that much over asking? Why am I having such a hard time buying a home in my price range and keep getting out-bid?

If you have been pondering these questions, rest assured that you are not alone. Having had such a strong seller’s market, pricing has been rising and it is challenging to find a home in your price range. Especially if you are looking at the list price of what you can afford.

Traditionally a listing agent will price your home based on what other homes like yours have recently sold for in your area. This makes sense to everyone involved. Same type of home, same area, same sort of finishings, same time, the price should be very similar. That is still happening in some cases but more and more, agents are purposefully listing their client’s properties well under the anticipated sale price. Because there are so many buyers and less homes for sale, the lower price gets more traffic in the door and more interest and more calls to the listing agent. This means potentially more business for the agent in the future. It also can create a bidding war for the house with multiple people interested in it and many people offering a bid. More bids typically equates to a higher sale price. Then, once the house is sold, the agent can run around telling everybody what an great job they did by selling the house for well over the asking price!!! And then they wonder why it is that many people don’t like and don’t trust a real estate agent.

 

As an agent, your job is to help your client sell their home for the most money in the least amount of time possible and to make the process as stress free as you can. The market will ultimately decide what price is acceptable for the property. If someone is willing to pay x amount over the asking price, then that is what the house is worth. But marketing it knowing that the home is worth much more than the asking price is certainly questionable. It does generate interest but I’m not convinced the agent is working in the best interest of their seller. It seems like they are more working for themselves and their self-promotion goals.

The market is starting to balance out with more homes being listed for Spring. This practice will start to become less and less prevalent. The best advice I can give to you if you are looking to buy a home is to find an agent that will explain to you what is going on and help direct you to the homes that you can afford and steer you clear of the ones priced too low. If you are selling your home, just know that this lower price scheme will not work much longer as more and more buyers get wise to the practice.

General 13 April 2022

My “Why”

Have you taken the time to sit down, look at your life and figure out why it is that you do what you do? This could apply to your career, home life, reading habits, traveling, eating habits, exercise and the list goes on. Why are you doing the things you do and are you happy with the choices you have made? If you are not happy, what are you doing to change your situation?

Change is difficult. It takes us outside of our comfort zone. It requires effort and it means we have to break the current established patterns we have put in place. Our natural inclination is to leave well enough alone and stay exactly the way we are. But, if you stop and look at it from a different vantage point, you might see that you are holding yourself back from feeling better, being more successful in life and robbing yourself of happiness. In order to change your habits and move in a new direction, you have to get to what I call the “threshold” point. This is where you realize that you need to make a change, the change has to come from you and it has to be now. Once you are at threshold, then making the change is much easier.

I have made a lot of changes in my life in the past few years. My family moved from southern to northern Ontario. We moved for many reasons but the key was to be closer to family. This change led to career changes and the opening of a yoga studio where my wife and I deliver not only good health practices but we also have created a connection with the community. We left behind the corporate world of anonymity where I worked tirelessly for somebody else’s gain and have shifted to a world where we are working for ourselves and delivering a product that truly makes a difference in ours and our customer’s lives.

This is also the reason why I chose to get into the real estate business and why I have stayed in it despite the market going through the worst times it has seen in the past 30 years. Real estate looks like a wonderful job if you subscribe to the shows on HGTV. I can tell you first hand that it is a very challenging career with many highs and lows. More lows than highs recently. The work is worth all of the lows. Having the opportunity to help somebody through the sale and purchase of their home is amazing. This is one of the most stressful experiences people go through in life. They need a competent guide to walk them through the process, make sure they get the best deal possible and be protected financially when the sale is complete. Being a key part in helping another family find a better home (or maybe their first home) is a job that immediately shows you a return on your efforts by making that family happy and accomplished. Helping others is a great feeling and also makes me feel good and validated having provided a worthy service. This is why I do what I do. Both at the yoga studio and out buying and selling homes – I am making a difference in people’s lives and loving every minute of it.
BuyersGeneralSellers 13 April 2022

Best and final offer?

There is a notion that real estate agents might be the lowest form of human being on earth. Right up there with used car salesmen. Recently, I have uncovered some evidence to strongly support that notion!
 
Obviously this is not true for the majority of us out there trying our best to help people. But unfortunately, there are many agents practicing with no scruples or moral compass and they do things that make your skin crawl. These agents are not looking out for you and really only care about the commission cheque. They also don’t usually last very long in this industry as eventually, their reputation will proceed them.
 
It is bad enough that we are in such a strong seller’s market that we have to set dates for offer presentations and throw away many of the protective condition statements just for a chance to win a bid but we now have a new(ish) dilemma to deal with. This practice may look different if you are on the seller side of the equation but if you step back and look at it holistically, it feels very wrong.
 
Here is what is going on. The listing agent will collect all of the offers on a specific date and time. They will then pick the top 3 or 4 offers and go back to the other agents and tell them that they are one of the top contenders but are still competing with a few others. They then ask them if they would like to revise their offer to make it better and maybe push them over the top to win the bid. The listing agent reveals nothing to the buying agent about where they are in the order of contenders and, of course, nothing about the other bids.
 
When you line up the process to accept all bids at a certain time, that should be your best and final offer unless the seller signs back your offer with a change that you can then contemplate working with. With this new practice, you might end up bidding even more than you did before in fear that you will lose the competition. It adds extra pressure onto an already intense situation. You may have a bid that is way out in front of the others and end up adding even more on top of it when you didn’t need to.
 
You always have the option of leaving your bid as is and not changing it or even retracting it. You could change it and still not be selected. Or you could end up spending much more than you ever intended to and find yourself in a predicament with your lender if they don’t agree with the appraisal.
 
To me, this is a slimy thing to do as an agent. A poor way to conduct business by changing the rules midway through the process and adding unnecessary pressure for a few extra dollars. Short term thinking. And it is risky too! The buyers could all walk away leaving the seller with less options.
 
This heavy sellers market will not last forever. Signs are already showing up that change is coming. Working in a balanced market is much better for everyone and when we get there, this practice will fade away. So too will those agents that have been using this tactic. Integrity is what you need to win the long game in this business.
BuyersGeneralSellers 13 April 2022

Multiple representation

This is something that has caused some debate in the past and something that you should be aware of when involved in a real estate transaction. When you hire an agent, that person has an obligation to act in your best interests and protect your information. There is a buyer representation agreement that is signed by the buyer and the brokerage formalizing this relationship. The seller will sign a listing agreement which sets up a similar relationship for the seller and brokerage.
 
A multiple representation scenario indicates that the brokerage may be representing more than one party in a transaction. You may have heard of an agent “double-ending” a deal. This means that the agent is selling the house but has also brought a buyer to the table to buy the property. That agent is representing both sides of the transaction. A tricky scenario as the agent must not reveal to either party anything about the other sides motivations, purchasing power or any other bit of information that may influence the purchase and sale. It is obviously in the agent’s best interest to have that deal come together as the agent would then be entitled to the full commission.
 
There is concern that an agent might take advantage of scenarios like this one and orchestrate the showings such that only buyers that the agent represents come to see the property and make offers. That is, of course, illegal and unethical and the agent would be in a lot of trouble if that were ever proven to be true.
 
Multiple representation can also occur when the brokerage represents more than one party in a transaction. In this case, it is the brokerage, not the individual agent, that has the multiple interest in the transaction. For example, both agents (selling and buying) may work for the same brokerage. They work together at the same office so it is conceivable that they could collude with each other, and share secrets about the parties involved.
 
When you participate in a sale or purchase, your agent should walk you through these scenarios so that you understand what could happen. Again, it is in the best interest of the agent and brokerage to properly represent their clients or face consequences. Ideally it is best if you hire an agent that is not the one selling the house you would like to buy.
BuyersFinancesGeneral 13 April 2022

Making your dream home a reality

Buying a home is a big decision – whether it’s your first home or your forever home. There’s a lot more to the home-buying process than searching online for the perfect listing that checks all the boxes. The key is being able to shop with both your heart and your head, and knowing how to differentiate between the two. This is why it pays to have an experienced real estate agent in your corner.
 
Getting Ready to Buy Before you get caught up in the excitement of searching for the perfect home, consider the following questions:
1. How much can you afford? Crunch the numbers and define your budget. By getting pre-approved for a mortgage in advance, you can go into your home search with a clear understanding of your true affordability, and a competitive edge when it comes to negotiating on an offer.
 
2. Are you set on a specific neighbourhood? Before you narrow your search down to individual homes, consider what geographical area is best suited for your lifestyle. Keep the convenience factor in mind: how close is it in proximity to the amenities you use regularly?
 
3. What are your must-haves? Put pen to paper (or pull out your phone) and create a list with three sections: must-haves, preferences, and deal breakers. This will help you gain clarity and you’ll refer back to it often when comparing homes.
 
4. Who’s on your team? Having a team of trusted professionals in your corner to offer expert advice and guidance will help ensure you make the best decision for your finances and your future. This is why you want to choose a real estate expert who has your best interests top of mind. Your agent should be able to refer you to other reputable professionals as needed, such as a mortgage specialist, home inspector, and lawyer.
 
Why Work With Us?
When it comes to buying your perfect home, there are many steps and decisions to navigate along the way. By partnering with us, you can rest assured knowing we will:
 
  • Take the time to educate you on your options.
  • Tailor your search to the homes that best fit your wish list.
  • Stay ahead of market trends and offer professional advice and guidance.
  • Connect you with the right professionals and resources.
  • Help you make the decision that is best suited to your unique goals.
  • Negotiate on your behalf and put you in an ideal position when making an offer.
GeneralSellers 13 April 2022

A Seamless Selling Experience

Your home is your most valuable asset. When it comes time to sell, you want to be sure you are working with a real estate professional who has the expertise needed to get you top dollar for your home efficiently and effectively. We will work with you to position your home on the market in a way that ensures your sales experience is as stress-free and profitable as possible.
 
Getting Ready to Sell Before putting the sign on your lawn and advertising your home, there are a few key steps you can take to make your home more sellable for which we can coach you through.
 
 
1. Remove the clutter Imagine what your home would look like if you removed half of your belongings. In order to make your home more appealing to buyers, it’s important to eliminate personalized items, as well as excess furniture and decorative features. Less is more. A minimal design with few distractions will help buyers see themselves in the space.
2. Patch and paint Pride of ownership is a key selling feature, and you can demonstrate yours with simple fixes to leaky faucets, running toilets or squeaky doors. Adding a fresh coat of paint to the walls, using neutral colours, is also a good idea. It’s a relatively quick and cost-effective way to make your home feel bigger, brighter and more welcoming.
3. Spruce up the curb appeal The outside of your home is what potential buyers see first when they pull up to a viewing, and we know how important first impressions are. Make sure the grass is cut, the yard is landscaped and the exterior looks well-kept.
 
 
4. Stage your home Studies show staging your home helps you sell faster and at a higher price point. Small changes can go a long way in making your home look Pinterest-worthy from every angle.
 
 
 
Why Work With Grant?
When it comes to buying your perfect home, there are many steps and decisions to navigate along the way. By partnering with us, you can rest assured knowing we will:
  • Accurately assess the fair market value of your property so it sells fast and for maximum profit.
  • Use the latest marketing tools to make your home stand out from the crowd and find serious buyers who are ready to act.
  • Stay ahead of market trends and offer professional advice and guidance.
  • Connect you with the right professionals and resources.
  • Be transparent and accountable in supporting you throughout the entire decision-making process.
  • Negotiate on your behalf and put you in an ideal position when reviewing and accepting offers.
GeneralSellers 13 April 2022

Sell now or wait until spring?

If you are planning on selling you might very well be wondering if you should get a jump on the competition and sell now or wait until spring when the market is traditionally busier. Here are my thoughts on this conundrum.
Spring time generally does have more buyers but it also generally has more sellers. Many sellers will wait until the spring to sell because they want to hunker down in the winter and not go through the motions for preparing their home for sale when it is cold. Others might be staying in warmer climates and not available to sell from afar. The truth is that there are many reasons why sellers wait. But is that the best thing to do?
The short answer is that the market is unpredictable. Some homes sell quicker than others and some require the right buyer to be looking at the right time. Other homes will sell no matter when they are listed. What we know right now is that homes available for sale are at an all time low. This likely means that selling your home now will result in top dollar. In a few months, things may have changed drastically and there may be a lot more homes for sale. More homes for sale drives your sale price down as the buyers have more choice and are less likely to spend more on your home when another of equal value is available to them.
 
Closing dates can be set for a few months out giving you lots of time to ride out the winter in your home before you have to move out.
If you would like to discuss your options further and see what your home is worth now, give me a call or book an appointment.